聽Goodbye Gourmet Pizza [ A Letter ]

Bursting the Bubble, Lifestyle/Personal
  

 

On Wednesday evening, I got word that Caruso Gourmet Pizza locked its heavy black doors for good. Caruso Gourmet Pizza was many things to many people; an excuse to forgo their diet for one night, a place to relax over a cup of coffee with friends, a Friday lunchtime tradition with coworkers, and even a daily stop on the morning commute for the best cappuccino in town.

To me, Caruso’s was a second home. I first started working there at the age of sixteen, when they were located in a tiny shop on the second floor of a complex. In the ten years I worked there, I learned more about life, responsibility, and customer service than I thought possible. I made incredible friendships with coworkers and lasting relationships with the regulars.

Somewhere a long the line my bosses, Domenic and Dina Caruso, became a third set of grandparents to me. I talked to them openly about my life, my dreams, and my passions. Equally, I complained about my life, my dreams, and my passions. They always listened to me fully and gave me advice without hesitation. Dom and I spoke daily about books, writing, and even current events. He’d tell me story after story and more often than not, I’d leave for the day feeling inspired and ready to write.

In fairness, I’m not THAT special; Domenic and Dina had incredible relationships with every single one of their customers. During a busy lunch or dinner rush, they always made time to chat with a customer, or shake hands with a friend. Not to mention sending me from table to table with complimentary espressos in hand. To many, the building was much more than a place to eat;  it was a place to be among friends.

I am truly saddened by the closure of such a wonderful establishment. Caruso’s is a huge part of Bolton’s history, culture, and identity. I will miss the warmth of the ovens, the delicious pizza, and having a second place to call home.

Here’s is my heartfelt thank you to Domenic and Dina Caruso, for everything you’ve done for me personally, for everything you’ve done for this town, and for keeping the Bolton youth employed and on the right track. I wish you the best of luck and hope you can finally have some time for yourselves, you deserve it.

Love Always,
Vanessa Xo

Weekend Recap [I put on my cape]

Family Time, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Restaurant Reviews

This weekend was my sister’s baby shower at Casamici Trattoria聽and although I will never understand the point in any kind of shower, it was an amazing afternoon. Since my sister is barely able to move, my mom, my brother-in-law, my brother, and myself had a lot of work to do. My mom in particular put in months and months of work to get all of the little details to make the baBEE shower absolutely perfect! The best part of events like this is that you get to see your family. I have a BIG family and if you combine them with Richard’s, the family is HUGE, but to have them all in one space, talking, and having a great time is a wonderful experience. I truly believe that family is everything. Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with us. We are so excited and thrilled about the baby girl on the way, she is lucky to have such a fun, good-looking (ha ha), and supportive family.

Yesterday afternoon I put on my cape, as I’ve done for many years and walked into my new-old-part-time-temporary-job at the pizza place I’ve been working (on and off) since I was sixteen. Did I say cape? I meant apron. Yes, I put on my apron and walked into the restaurant, my boss smiling — “I’m sorry to be the one to say this,” he says and I immediately thought I had made a mistake, “I’m really happy to have you back here. Even just for a little while.”

I exhaled and returned the smile. It was like walking into a second home and it was almost as if I hadn’t been gone for three months, living a completely different life downtown. That thought depressed me a little but I quickly let it escape from my mind. My boss and I discussed it as I stocked every possible thing in that restaurant. “Things happen when they want to, Vanessa. Every business adventure I’ve ever started has happened when IT wanted to. The more you want something, the more you try to force it, the less likely it will happen. Do what you have to do now and keep working hard.”

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Love Always

Vanessa Xo

A Bittersweet Moment

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

Yesterday was pretty bittersweet. It was my last day working at Caruso Gourmet Pizza — my second home/source of income for the better half of seven years. It was a day filled with hugs, tears, laughs, and a little bit of work too.

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My bosses were very supportive and reminded me that although they want me to succeed and move on, their door is always open. There’s something seriously comforting in knowing that you can always go back, it creates a sense of peace almost. Knowing that I can always go back will give me the courage I need to move forward. The love and support I felt yesterday is something I cannot explain, it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world and I hope it will fuel my desire to succeed. They must see something in me that I sometimes overlook and I hope I can make them proud.聽Thank you to my Caruso’s Family for all of your support, kind words, and gifts. I’ll be back for a latte soon 馃槈

*Raises glass of聽Magners聽Pear Cider and smiles*

Here’s to seven great years of working with so many wonderful people, here’s to change, here’s to challenges, here’s to the downtown commuting, here’s to the next three months of my life, here’s to bursting the little bubble that I’ve lived in for the last twenty-four years.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

From Clothing to Carbs…

Fashion & Beauty, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Products and Brands
  1. One credit away from my publishing certificate and now I think I might want to freelance for magazines instead #perfectTiming
  2. @VanessaGrillone Hahaha. Life is always like that. I’ve changed career paths quite a few times.
  3. @MsMariaVicente lol it seems like every time I’m nearly finished something I want to try something else!
  4. @MsMariaVicente LOL at least we’re narrowing down our options.. At least we always want a challenge 馃檪
  5. It’s true, I’m back to square one! I’m enjoying my part-time work (Caruso Gourmet Pizza and Moda L Boutique AKA Clothing to Carbs), part-time school, and full-time writing and reading. I enjoyed studying English at York and I really like all of my Publishing courses at Ryerson. Right now I’m enrolled in my last class, Visual Publishing, and I’m having a great time creating stories with pictures (see assignments below).
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    聽My only issue is choosing my career — picking a future. I used to be the type to live in the future, live by a plan, but now I don’t. I planned on having my career started by the time I turned 24 (April 4th of this year) and that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.

    So, it looks like I’ll keep going from clothing to carbs and writing every chance I get!

    Love Always

    Vanessa Xo

My drug and my vice.

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Restaurant Reviews

I’ve never been one to do certain things alone, like go out for a meal or to a cafe to read. Yesterday I decided to give it a whirl. I went to my work, Caruso Gourmet Pizza, ordered a minestrone soup and took out my copy of The Diary of Ana茂s Nin聽1931-1934.

This is the half-eaten version of my soup. It also came with toasted bread and oil and vinegar to dip it in -- SO GOOD.

This is the half-eaten version of my soup. It also came with toasted bread and oil and vinegar to dip it in — SO GOOD.

I sat in the sweet silence of my own bubble and read and ate to my heart’s content. The soup warmed me, fueled me, nurtured me. The words of Ana茂s Nin聽inspired me, moved me, woke me up.

“This diary is my kief, hashish, and opium pipe. This is my drug and my vice. Instead of writing a novel, I lie back with this book and a pen, and dream, and indulge in refractions and defractions… I must relive my life in this dream. This dream is my only life.” (ix)

Her words are so smooth, simple, and silky. She writes in a way that I only hope I aspire to. My pen is my vice, my diary (and my extension this blog) is my drug — Ana茂s Nin聽took the words right out of my mouth. That is all I thought about after finishing the introduction of her book, realizing that I had spent more than 45 minutes eating and reading, alone. I had eaten slowly and consciously. I enjoyed every morsel of my food. I read with purpose and I felt the words come alive within me.

When I finally went on my way, with a coffee in hand, I drove slowly and looked around. I absorbed the pastel blue sky and watched it being chased by the slow-moving, soft clouds. In fact everything around me looked soft. The snow looked like velvet — touchable. The dead and thorny trees somehow even looked friendly to me.

And then I realized … I should probably keep my eyes on the road…

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Oh, but what a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

I felt refreshed, light, focussed, and prepared to see and appreciate the world around me.聽

When I reached my destination I took out my pen and my pink Moleskin, and wrote about it…

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Food for thought.

Family Time, Just for Fun

 

Yep, it’s for sale alright. I don’t think there’s a need for getting nostalgic about my time there just yet BUT I’m going to anyways. Caruso’s is its own little family. We fight, we annoy one another, we have good days, we have bad days, but we are always there to help each other.

In truth Caruso’s has always been more than a part-time job to me. It’s been a place of comfort, a home, my Neverland. Working there, at the side of 15, 16, 17, and 18 year-olds, I can almost pretend that I’m still their age. Part-time school, part-time work, not having to grow up, NEVERLAND.

I told one of my bosses that I just might be using my job at Caruso’s as an excuse to not grow up. She wasn’t too happy about that. She said to me:

“Vanessa, don’t. Don’t do that. You’re young once, don’t stop your life because your comfortable. You never get these years back. When you have the will to do something you can do it – as long as you have the will. So go do it.”

So I guess before the weekend is out I’ll have to fix up my resume and cover letter.

It’s time to grow up and stop making excuses for putting my own life on pause.

Happy Friday 馃槢

Love Always
Vanessa Xo聽

I Prefer the Opposite of BORED

Family Time, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

Since summer started, there have been less hours to go around at Caruso Gourmet Pizza. As such, I have been bored out of my mind聽– to the point that my sole enjoyment is helping my brother with his online English course. I’ve been looking for another part-time job to supplement my boredom but to no avail – IS ANYONE HIRING IN BOLTON??

Today, instead of spending my day loafing inside the house, angry at my lack of hours, upset by my boredom, and contemplating all that is wrong with my life – I went out. I dragged my brother to visit my sister at work. She’s a sous chef at Pusateri’s and so we got the V.I.P treatment and a tour around the store and even in the kitchen. My sister looks like a BOSS in her work clothes and I am so proud of all that she’s accomplished there. It was also really nice to surprise her! We miss her face at home!

See JESS, we cry for you! 馃槮

After our adventure to Pusateri’s we drove to Woodbridge! Chapters was our destination and I am happy to report that it was a successful trip! Joseph bought me these two books as a thank you/ payment for helping him with his online course!

THANKS Brother 鉂

Next we went to visit Papa Vince at work and he treated us to some awesome Five Guys burgers! Which is why when I got home I took the pup for a walk – gotta work off those fries somehow! 馃槈

If there is anything I learnt today it is that you create every situation. You determine how bored you will be. You decide how much fun you will have each day. YOU decide on how well you will LIVE every hour of every single day.

Today I decided to be the opposite of bored.

Today I decided to LIVE.

What did you decide to do today?

Love Always
Vanessa Xo